Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

TrustTable & Unicorns: RARE Value in Currency Exchanges

For the last decade I have traveled and explored how communities create alternate currency flow, from gift economies and creative exchanges to time banks, local certificates and cards. While I am most impressed with sustainable cooperative measures that create solid trustworthy institutions we must recognize that it is very tough to reach this goal. Groups and networks by nature will struggle with power as it relates to any currency and control of its flow and diligent community builders will need to keep a balanced team on hand at all times to hold the ship through rough waters.

Systems that create the greatest value have a sense of RARENESS to them. We value the one-of-a-kind, that which cannot be replicated in digital space.

As paper money loses value and numbers on a screen become more meaningless we will see that the things we give one another hold the greatest value to us. Something made by a friend, a gift with a story. The greatest gifts will be able to tell their stories for centuries to come, like the Unicorns.

Unicorns have been a currency since time has been recorded -- they are the gems of the gods, given and won at games and challenges. Today we give them to one another when someone has made a great leap forward to commemorate how they have risen to their greatest self. The unicorn remembers the giving and the meaning behind it - because these gifts are rare and share memories they hold a special place in our hearts as something unique and only for us.

I give unicorns on Twitter and sometimes in person as they are earned by various actions. Perhaps you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Give them a +1 unicorn today!

The tracking of these trust bonds as they form into relationships is the challenge of TrustTable. At your trust table you are setting dinner with 10 seats for your guests. Who do you trust to pick up the kids, handle your home in an emergency, be the first one to call if you are seriously injured? TrustTable tracks the relationships that mean the most to you and allows schools and hospitals quick access for emergencies through common social media linking tools & APIs.

Unicorns are now ready to be implemented and tracked through the TrustTable app if we find the right development team to move forward, especially with the mobile app side connecting to other sites. This is an otherwise free system to run and low-cost to host through a solar cloud server providing bandwidth.

This system could provide clear indicators of who is most trusted in any given community.
Because this information is freely provided and easily changed by the user there is no control/ownership or institution to corrupt within this exchange network. Reputation can be given as a rare gift, not as points freely disbursed....with only 10 seats at the TrustTable there are careful considerations to be made. Trustability can then be measured as an aggregate of community decisions and those who are most trusted will likely be the ones who encourage their friends to use this tool, promoting viral sharing without a marketing budget.

I am eager to do more research on the patterns of giving and exchange within new currency solutions, especially as they relate to creating a more compassionate and cooperative society across borders. What opportunities for connection do you see here?

Views: 28

Comment by Alberto Cottica on April 4, 2010 at 12:54pm
Hello Evo, two things here:

I'm not too keen on unicorns as currency. The reason is, they don't really qualify as money, the essence of which - as I understand it - is a promise to honor an obligation (if you look at a dollar bill, you'll read "this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private").

For the same reason, I like your TrustTable concept. In fact, it has something in common with the notion of "reputation server". On this post you'll find a three-minutes explanation of reputation server and a link to a British academic paper discussing several methods for running such servers.

+1 vision :-)
Comment by Alberto Cottica on April 4, 2010 at 12:56pm
Comment by Turil Cronburg on April 21, 2010 at 12:03pm
I'm a little confused, are you saying that people who generate new, rare things are trustable? To me, these are very, very different kinds of qualities. (And they aren't quantities, so measuring them is kind of silly, as far as I'm concerned, but that's a wh*** other topic :-).

So are these different things you want to keep score for? Or are you trying to combine these things into a single measurement?
Comment by Evo on April 21, 2010 at 4:10pm
They are two separate systems -- unicorns are a currency to share rare gifts with those who mean the most to us while the TrustTable is a contact & research tool for studying those relationships over time.
Comment by Jeremy Laird Hogg on April 25, 2010 at 5:50pm
awesome post.

challenge: oligarchical trust groups in a community. You only need to collude. When people collude for money, that's okay. But for trustworthiness - well, that's a conceptual challenge to be met =)
Comment by M. on April 25, 2010 at 6:03pm
Two creative concepts ... you are definitely thinking outside the box on this challenge, so I gave you a "creativity" vote.
Comment by Julio Cesar Corona Ortega on April 27, 2010 at 6:02am
Very nice, Evo. I was going to give you +1 Vision, but what the heck, you get a +1 Unicorn instead. ;p
Comment by Julio Cesar Corona Ortega on April 27, 2010 at 6:03am
Well, okay. You also get the +1 Vision, but only because I'm a softie.
Comment by NANGAR SOOMRO on April 27, 2010 at 6:22am
Plus 1 for creativity
Comment by Buffy B on April 27, 2010 at 6:57am
lol now I get why u gave me a singing unicorn :)


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